SUP Terminology

blade – Wide, flat part of paddle used to propel the board through the water.

boils – When water currents are pushed to the surface creating a boiling effect.

bow – Front of watercraft.

brace – A paddle movement that pushes against the water and assists the paddler staying upright

breaking wave – a standing wave that falls or breaks upstream on a river. When a wave reaches a critical level large enough to spill over onto the wave face.

cadence – Stroke rate, the speed or tempo of paddling.

catch – also called the recover, the point where the paddle first enters the water at the beginning of a stroke

CFS – The measure of water flow equivalent to one cubic foot of water passing a given point for one second. CFS is used to measure the river flow levels in a river.

confluence – the intersection of rivers. The point of intersection of two rivers

cross bow paddling – A forward stroke technique that reaches over and across the deck. It allows the paddler to stroke on the offside of the board without switching hands.

dipping a rail – Putting pressure on rail by slightly tilting it. Used to steer or redirect the board.

downstream – The direction the river flows.

draw stroke – a lateral power stroke designed to pull the board sideways.

Duffek stroke – A static draw that allows you to turn the board without loosing forward momentum. The Duffek was invented by Milo Duffek and revolutionized slalom kayaking.

eddy – Usually found behind rocks or obstacles, a section of water that is slow moving, boiling, calm and/or moving back upstream in the midst of faster moving water.

eddyline – An eddy line forms at the edge of an eddy where the recirculating water of the eddy meets with the fast moving water in the central flow of the river. its the interface between the eddy and main current.

edge – The rail or side of board.

edging – Pushing one side or rail of the board to assist in turning, going straight or maneuvering river features like eddy lines and boils.

fin – Fins attach to the bottom of board and assist in keeping the board going straight. Fins make the board more stable and balanced.

foil – The thickness of a board from tail to nose.

forward stroke – The primary stroke for propelling a board forward with a paddle.

ferry – Using moving current to move a board horizontally across river or channel without loosing too much ground.

goofy foot – A surfing stance in which you stand with your left foot back.

gradient – A rivers drop in altitude over a period of distance. A rivers rate of descent.

hole – where water recirculates over a boulder, low head dam or other obstacle and obstructs river current. Also called a hydraulic.

hull – The bottom of the board or other water craft, the main area of contact and buoyancy with the water.

hull speed – Rate or speed of a board moving through water.

nose – Front end of board.

paddle shaft – The long section of a paddle

parallel stance – The basic stance for stand up paddle boarding. Feet are parallel and about shoulder width apart, over the sweet spot of the board.

peel out – A technique allowing the paddler to exit an eddy and enter the downstream current.

PFD – Personal floatation device, A life jacket.

power-stroke – The meat of the forward stroke.

power-phase – The pulling part of a forward stroke. The part following the catch-phase.

purchase – A term pertaining to the amount of grip or mechanical advantage a paddle blade has in the water.

put in – the place on a body of water or river where you begin a sup trip.

rail – edge or side of board

rapid – Fast moving water flowing over rocks or obstructions, causing turbulent conditions

recover phase – The third and final phase of a forward stroke when the paddle leaves the water.

rocker – Amount of curve fem tail to nose of a board as seen from a side profile view of the board

reverse stroke – A back stroke using the back – face of the blade. The opposite of a forward stroke.

scout – To study a stretch of river before proceeding, in order to find the best route through a rapid.

shoulder – The green undisturbed part of a wave

side draw – A paddle stroke that pulls the board sideways.

skeg – A fin or rudder on a boat or board that is used for forward directional control and stability.

standing wave – A wave that stays in the same place. Standing waves are found in rivers and tidal rapids.

SUP – Stand up paddleboard.

sweep stroke – A forward or reverse stroke used for turning done with a near horizontal paddle out away from the SUP to maximize the turning moment.

sweet spot – The balance point, the place near the center of the board where you are balanced from nose to tail and rail to rail.

take out – Place where a water or river trip ends.

tail – Back end of board.

tip – The front end of board

tongue – The fastest, green water , flowing section of a rapid. Also called a V.

trough – the lowest section between two waves.

upstream – direction opposite of river flow.

volume – The amount of water in a river in cubic feet or cubic meters.

wave – Created by water falling over itself. Waves can be created by wind, current, tides and a drop in elevation on a river.

whitewater – Aerated water created by obstructions in a river or breaking waves.


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